OK, it's technically 1:48 a.m. on Tuesday, but this was the first break I had to stop and jot some updates down.
I just snapped a dark, semi-blurry shot of what 165 backer envelopes look like. This is roughly everyone that paid $12 that lives in the USA and has a first name that starts with A-G. There's also two more envelopes on the couch, but I ran out of labels and needed to run downstairs to buy and print more.
We had a break-through with our postage provider, which as of 1 p.m. today is Stamps.com. I almost fully endorse them. They're a little light in instructions, and some of the presets for their software are curiously chosen. And for me particularly, they're frustrating in that they limit how much postage you can buy at once (though they apparently gave me a special offer and bumped my cap up to $500 today).
Already, 123 books have been sent. That's all USA-based $80 backers, along with some USA, French and Canadian 1-book backers to test out the software. UK backers, we might have an extra delay for you guys.
The goal is to get all 12, 17 and 22 backers done and in the mail by Wednesday. Also, if anyone paying 17 or more wants to pick up their package in person at ConnectiCon, please let me know ASAP. We'll make sure O does a quick sketch on the cover for you.
123 books sent
290 books packed and labeled
~600 books packed
42 labels printed while I was writing out these stats
$704.05 spent on postage so far, mostly at the media mail rate
255 labels loaded up and ready to print as soon as I pay for them
$629.85 to be spent to print out the next 255 labels
I'm really not sure why I keep posting about how the last of the delays are behind me. That feels like I'm just asking to have to do another post like, well, this one.
There are 3,300 copies of The Monster Alphabet in probably the same time zone as me. As of Thursday, they were being processed out of New York and into New Jersey (which is still three states north of me). They're now due to arrive to show up on my doorstep Friday afternoon, which is great.
Friday morning is when I leave for southern California for 10 days. Friday night, I'll be at the American Library Association's Annual Conference, which is in Anaheim, CA, this year. The show runs through Monday, and it's a great place to show off a brand new book.
I'm not giving up, though. Friday, during the show, I'll have a couple display copies of Monster Alphabet on hand. My truly awesome wife will be staying in Maryland, waiting for the massive shipment. After most of them are stored away, she'll be over-nighting a case to me in California. So in theory, I'll have books for Saturday, Sunday and Monday of ALA (I'll also probably be late getting in to ALA on Saturday morning. Call it a hunch).
Then on Friday, June 29, my wife is flying out to join me, along with a couple more cases of Monster Alphabet. Which is handy, as I'll be attending Anime Expo in Los Angeles that weekend.
Now, for those that won't be stopping by and saying hi to me these next two weekends, here's the important information: Tuesday, July 3, I will start to ship out orders to the backers. Please note: there are a LOT of you guys, so it's going to take a lot of man hours to fill up the envelopes. I will post daily updates until we've got every shipment out, including the order I plan on sending out packages (so you can see when your backer tier is next up, or if it's already shipped out).
After a bought of world travelling, I've got an updated ETA for the books. We're expecting them to be in our offices on June 19 or 20.
Probably the biggest thing I didn't know when I started this project was the amount of time on the back end. Previously, I've been using only digital presses with fairly fast turnarounds. But in making a board book, this was not an option. And when I needed to order 3,000 copies, it really, really wasn't an option.
The phrase "slow boat to China" used to be a poker term, for a player that didn't realize he was slowly and surely losing his money to professional players. The idea was that China was the farthest place they could think of, and back in the 1940s, travelling by boat was officially "slow."
But naval freight is still the main way to get things from continent to continent. And on May 13, 2012, The Monster Alphabet left Hong Kong to pass through the Panama Canal and up to New York.
It's due to hit land on June 7. But then we've got the waiting game of customs, plus waiting for it to be loaded onto a truck and shipped down to Columbia, MD (about 200 miles south of New York). Which puts the ETA at June 19 or 20.